Welcome to Nerd Nite SF, 3rd Wednesdays at Rickshaw Stop!

Congratulations! You have happened upon our website, where you’ll find information on all our future and past events (going back to 2010!). We are Nerd Nite SF, a monthly lecture-in-a-bar series where people from all walks of life give presentations on everything from video game design to historic shipwrecks. We’ve hosted mimes, musicians and everyone in between, with the goal of being entertaining, silly, and most of all, educational. Come learn a new fact, make a new friend, or try a new drink! Rickshaw Stop creates a special drink based on the month’s presentations!


A collaboration that is sure to be out of this world! 🚀🌎🤓

Wednesday, December 13
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
$10 online / $15 door
Tickets here!

Dr. Kirk David Knobelspiesse of the PACE Mission

PACE stands for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem and its data will help us better understand how the ocean and atmosphere exchange carbon dioxide. In addition, it will reveal how aerosols might fuel phytoplankton growth in the surface ocean. Novel uses of PACE data will benefit our economy and society. For example, it will help identify the extent and duration of harmful algal blooms. PACE will extend and expand NASA’s long-term observations of our living planet. By doing so, it will take Earth’s pulse in new ways for decades to come. Come get the details in a nutshell during this presentation!

Dr. Marcela Loria-Salazar

Marcela works at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology and was one of the first professors in Oklahoma to be hired for the study of air quality.  She studies aerosols and aerosol transport using different platforms. One is with measurements, and one is with satellite retrievals. Marcela has also created applications from plume injection heights and identified ways to use them for air quality monitoring. She also assimilates satellite data to data fishing models. Through working with polar orbiting satellites, she can fill gaps created by clouds. She and her team take the retrievals and try to forecast how to get the AOD full picture by attempting to remove the cloud and create the AOD retrieval from that using polar satellites. She wants to move toward using the scenario data to have more data points and more observations.

Dr. Jeremy Werdell

Jeremy Werdell is an Oceanographer in the Ocean Ecology Laboratory (OEL) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the Project Scientist for the PACE mission. Jeremy currently oversees the SeaWiFS Bio-optical Archive and Storage System (SeaBASS), NASA bio-Optical Marine Algorithm Data set (NOMAD), and OEL in-water bio-optical algorithm development efforts. His research interests extend to the on-orbit calibration of ocean color satellite instruments, the validation of remotely-sensed data products, the collection and analysis of in situ biogeochemical oceanographic measurements, and the assimilation of the above to study how the global ocean and various regional ecosystems are changing with time. When time permits, Jeremy moonlights as a teacher and student mentor (and wannabe chef). He has led several internationally attended workshops on bio-optical algorithm development and helped instruct undergraduate and graduate-level courses on ocean optics and biology.

Nerd Nite SF: # 137 The Halloween Nerdtacular!

Kick off spooky season with a nerdy twist at our Halloween special! Featured will be a talk on the real Gray’s Anatomy, tarot readings by Nerd Nite alum Ben Grandis, a pumpkin decorating contest (with prizes!), music by dj andjelly, and our friends in nerdom, the SF Public Library crew. Just added: a special presentation on adaptive fashion with Tracy Vollbrecht! There will be something for everyone, in true Nerd Nite fashion! (pun intended)

🎃~Get your tickets here! ~👻

Thursday, October 19
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
$10 online / $15 door

The Real Gray’s Anatomy Was So Much Worse by Patrick Kelly
The medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, got its name from the most famous medical textbook of all time — Gray’s Anatomy. And the story of the book’s creation has the same level of drama and life-or-death action as the show… but with much less hooking up in the on-call room, and much more smallpox. In this talk, you’ll learn how medical education has changed over time, the controversial career of Henry Gray, and how to procure a cadaver. At least in 1850s London.

Patrick Kelly is a Bay Area based science communicator specializing in video creation. He’s written and researched video scripts for YouTube channels like SciShow and Seeker, as well as for institutions like the Mütter Museum and the American Public Health Association. These days, he makes videos about the history of medicine on YouTube. Subscribe at www.YouTube.com/@patkellyteaches 

The Spooky Truth: How Disability Inclusion Is Left Out of Fashion by Tracy Vollbrecht

Despite being the largest minority group and the only minority group anyone can join at any point in life, people with disabilities are often left out of the fashion industry. In this talk, you’ll learn how clothing impacts societal participation, what adaptive fashion is, and how we can all benefit from disability inclusion. Plus you’re guaranteed to see some cute, funny, and ghoulish costumes in the process!

Tracy Vollbrecht is the founder of Vollbrecht Adaptive Consulting, an adaptive fashion consultancy rooted in universal design principles. Tracy’s work has been featured in Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue, Oprah Daily, and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not enjoying all of SF’s awesome remote work spots, you can find her kayaking or stand up paddle boarding in the bay – sometimes even in costume! Connect with Tracy on Instagram (@VollbrechtAdaptiveConsulting) and TikTok (@VollbrechtAdaptive).

We hope to see you there! 🎃 🤓

Nerd Nite SF #136: Maggot Therapy, Waves, & Your Brain on Exercise!

Let’s wiggle!

We are reluctantly wiggling out of our Hot Nerd Summer series, but full steam ahead into the Fall! Join us in September to experience the Nerd Wiggling Extravaganza where we will be featuring things that wiggle: waves, maggots, and your body.

Nerd Nite SF
Rickshaw Stop
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
Tickets here!

(Note: The info on the Rickshaw page is outdated. This email and our website have the correct lineup. )

The World is Made of Waves
by Yousef Hindy

Waves are all around us in ways that we may not even realize. They are how we humans perceive and interact with the world, yet many think of waves as restricted to the ocean or football stadiums. In this talk you will see how all the things you see (and dont see) in the world around you are made of waves and are governed by wave principles. We’ll come to understand what a wave is, some real world examples, and how to evaluate and find wave-like phenomena in your everyday life. 

Yousef is a physicist turned software engineer. He discovered his love of waves in his high school physics courses, and continued his exploration as he studied physics in undergrad. He currently uses waves to teach cars how to drive.

Maggot Therapy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bugs
by Avir Mitra MD

What’s the most disgusting thing I see too often in the ER? Maggots. In this lecture, we explore the fascinating science and history of maggot infections and the surprising ways in which they may be just what the doctor ordered.

Avir Mitra is an ER doctor and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He moonlights as a contributing editor at Radiolab and has also written and produced stories for Vice, The Pulse and Here and Now. You can keep up with him on Insta @avirmitra and on Twitter @avirrr.

Why We Want to Wiggle: This is Your Brain on Exercise
by Katie Shakman

The brain is a miraculous organ, allowing us to sense, experience, and interact with the world. And it’s constantly changing. Everything we do impacts the connections our neurons will form, and some of our behaviors — like exercise — can have an outsized impact. We’ll explore controversy and surprising connections in the life of your brain and the neuroscience of how your own actions can change it.

Katie is a neuroscientist-turned-mental health data scientist who has studied fly aggression and the importance of salience signals for learning and memory. While earning her PhD, she served on the board of Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach where she shared her enthusiasm for the brain with New Yorkers at events across the city.

Joining us again will be the SF Public Library and DJ AndJelly!

Hope to nerd out with you soon!

Nerd Nite SF #135: Pirates, Baby Animals, & Living on All Algae Diet

We see a return to the ocean in August, but this time with pirates instead of sharks. Also, have you ever thought of Earth as one giant nursery for everyone’s and everything’s spawn, from mites to mice? Well, you will! And if you’ve definitely never considered eating algae to help climate change, well, we can’t say you will…but maybe you’ll be inspired. Plus, our friends from the SF Public Library will be in attendance to sign you up for a library car and hook you up with stickers, pins, and other literary swag.

Nerd Nite SF
Rickshaw Stop
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
$10 online, $15 door
Tickets here!

“Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals (and the Incredible Sacrifices of Their Parents)”
By: Danna Staaf
At any given moment, most animals on the planet are babies—from chicks and tadpoles to caterpillars and marine larvae. Their tiny, hidden lives reveal some of nature’s strangest workings: A salamander embryo breathes with the help of algae inside its cells. The young grub of a Goliath beetle dwarfs its parents. Mouse embryos can absorb cancerous cell grafts—and develop into healthy adults. At once incredibly vulnerable and incredibly vital, baby animals are not just beings in progress, but beings in their own right. And our planet needs them all: the maggots as much as the kittens! Meanwhile, every animal baby has parents. Whether they stick around to nurse their young or die before their eggs hatch, all animal parents invest in the next generation . . . sometimes in truly bizarre ways, like the caecilian mom who grows an extra “milk skin” or the mama mite who’s literally bursting with pride.

About the Speaker:
Danna Staaf is an author, artist, and marine biologist who earned a PhD from Stanford University with her studies of baby squid. Her writing has appeared in Nautilus, Atlas Obscura, and Science, and her first book, Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, was named one of the best science books of the year by NPR’s Science Friday. Her book for young readers, The Lady and the Octopus: How Jeanne Villepreux-Power Invented Aquariums and Revolutionized Marine Biology (https://lernerbooks.com/shop/show/21976), was listed as a best book of the year by both the School Library Journal and the Children’s Book Committee. Her most recent book, Nursery Earth: The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals and the Extraordinary Ways They Shape Our World (https://theexperimentpublishing.com/catalogs/summer-2023/nursery-earth/), has been called “a gobsmack
ing delight!” Staaf lives in San Jose, California, with her husband, children, cat, and innumerable plush octopuses.

“Super Slime Me or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live on Algae”
By: Elliot Roth
Algae enthusiasts and plankton party animals, welcome to the wacky world of green gastronomy! Over the past few weeks, our speaker has been on a wild, strange and sometimes hilarious adventure through the uncharted territory of munching on nothing but algae. He’s been surviving on some slime sublime as a means of investigating the potential of our tiny green friends to meet the challenges of everything from the impending climate catastrophe to life in space. Get ready to dive into weird self-experimentation, the carbon impact of food, and how you too might one day be eating algae on a daily basis.

About the Speaker:
Elliot Roth is the founder of Spira, a company that uses genetically engineered algae grown by a global network of farming partners to make designer materials, starting with natural colors. He is a synthetic biologist with years of experience in product design and storytelling, and previously started 7 companies and 2 nonprofits. In his spare time he plays music, and participates in space analog missions while residing in San Francisco a few blocks from Dolores Park.

“The Greatest Pirate Who Ever Lived (A Woman!)”
By Christina Li

Boats full of bloodthirsty female pirates, cannibalism, international politics, and men who cry and only dress in blue – dive into the brutal and colorful world of the most successful pirate in written history. Despite being illiterate and born into a life of sex work, Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) rose to lead over 10,000 people against the dominant Qing, British, and Portuguese empires. 

This talk will dive into the recruitment, organization, and politicking that Chang Yi Sao (or Chang Sek Yeung) used to create an empire of misfits and live to retire at a ripe old age. You’ll also hear stories of the amazing characters that populated early 1800s South East China, a society bursting from a population explosion, marginalized by an indifferent and faraway emperor, and perused by new international merchants each their own agenda. 

Christina Li is a musician and theater producer in the Bay Area. She is passionate about community work and bringing hidden histories to life through art. Check out what’s next on instagram: @christinali

Nerd Nite SF #134: Sharks, DNA, & Tarot!

Hot nerd summer continues! This time featuring: SHARKS (well, their biology at least. No live sharks will be present, we promise); thinking of DNA as nature’s hard drive; and what can you learn about yourself via the cultural phenomenon that is tarot? ALSO tarot readings will be part of the program from 7:15-7:45! Come early for your chance to see what the cards have to say about you!
NOTE: our “what happens when you only eat algae for a month?” and “why would someone ever do that??” talk has been rescheduled for August 16 at the Rickshaw Stop. More details for that show soon.

Nerd Nite SF


Rickshaw Stop

Doors 7pm, show 8pm

$10 online, $15 door

Tickets here!

Sharks Aren’t Infesting San Francisco Bay, But They Do Live Here! by Meghan Holst

Sharks don’t infest the waters they are in, they just live there! San Francisco Bay, CA is no exception. In fact, one of the highest-ranking apex predators, the broadnose sevengill shark, uses this bay as a place to pup their young. Sevengill sharks are found worldwide but the population along our coastline is the only population where we can consistently find juvenile sevengills in a pupping and nursery ground year-round! That opens a very unique opportunity to study these sharks at the beginning of their lives. So, why is a pupping and nursery ground important, and what are the conservation needs around this unique shark? Join us to find out! 

Meghan Holst is a third-year PhD student at UC Davis in the Graduate Group of Ecology. Meghan has completed a MSc in behavior and physiology of octopuses with an emphasis on how these correlate with welfare. Now she is pursuing a PhD in ecology studying the broadnose sevengill shark in San Francisco Bay. Meghan is equally passionate about conservation science as she is social justice and science communication work. In 2021, Meghan co-founded the 501(c)3 non-profit, Minorities In Aquarium & Zoo Science (MIAZS), and now maintains an executive directorship pursuing the mission to advance aquarium and zoo science by diversifying the professionals and their perspectives within it. Additionally, Meghan co-hosts a science podcast, Sharkpedia, where the primary authors of elasmobranch research are interviewed to communicate their science and strategies to the general public. Meghan intends to continue conducting science, communicating science in fun and interactive ways, and actively working to make the science fields more diverse and inclusive. 

Meghan holds a baby shark in the name of science, not song!


Tarot Me A Story by Ben Grandis (AKA Beneficent Coach)

Tarot cards have commonly been depicted in popular culture as an occult tool for fortune telling. But what if you could harness them to gain deeper insight into your own mind rather than some theoretical future event? By examining the art of Tarot through a psychology lens, learn how the cards can help you tell your life story in new, bold, and exciting ways. From “The Hero’s Journey” to Jungian archetypes to Rorschach tests, let’s explore how tarot is a powerful way of discovering personal intuition and self-understanding.

Ben Grandis is a Professional Life Coach & Tarot Reader who thrives on compassionate curiosity. He specializes in helping folks from all walks of life get clarity on what they want and how to get there. With a professional background ranging from non-profits, major corporations, and startups, he always brings a people-centric approach towards supporting others in their wellness journey. You can connect with Ben at www.beneficent.coach, on Instagram @beneficent.coach, or by email at .

Come early to experience Ben’s take on what the cards have in store for you!

DNA Data Storage: Using three billion year-old technology to solve a modern dilemma by Brian Bramlett

The generation of digital information has outpaced the growth of storage capacity from early on, and the gap continues to grow exponentially. Meanwhile, no modern technology can store and retrieve data on timescales of more than a couple decades. Nature has evolved its own data storage medium—DNA—could that be the solution? Let’s talk about it!

Brian Bramlett is a Technology Strategist, bringing teams and technologies together to build world-changing platforms. For over 35 years he has worked across a diversity of fields, from Smart Toys to Wearables, and most recently, synergies between semiconductors/computing and synthetic biology.

Brian Bramlett poses with a t-shirt that depicts a DNA molecule with the ACGT sequence depicted as 00 01 11 10
Brian rocks a t-shirt depicting the tried and true ACGT sequence of a DNA molecule, which is so 3 billion years ago. Binary encoding is the new nerd on the block!

We will also be joined by our partners in nerd-dom: the SF Public Library! Get a library card, don some library swag, and find out what cool events the Library is putting on in between thinking and drinking along to our presenters!

Nerd Nite SF #133: Kinky Critters, Sexy Video Games, & Nerdy Law! – sold out!

Nerd Nite, but sexy!

We’re on a small summer vacation from the Rickshaw Stop this month. You can find us soaking up the proverbial sun at Manny’s next Tuesday, June 20. And even if the sun is not out, we are still bringing the nerdy hotness with something for everyone: adventurous presentations on the sex lives of animals, sex and representation in video games, and some climactic Star Trek law scenarios!! We even have an early show time to boot. This goes out to all you nerds out there who wish we started and ended earlier. Time to think and drink at a reasonable time on a Tuesday night!

Tuesday June 20, 2023
(yes, a special Tuesday edition!)
6pm doors, 7-9pm show
Manny’s (3092 16th St)
$10 online (+fees)
Tickets here!

Kinky Critters: The Wild, Bizarre and Sordid sex lives of animals by Guido Nuñez- Mujica

Over the span of 3.7 billion years, life has adapted to many situations, and that has changed the way animals reproduce. Traditional expectations of male-female couplings solely for reproduction are very far from reality for many species, as are expectations of the roles of females and males. Life is far more twisted than we can imagine. A species of clonal lesbians? Check! Golden showers? Check! Blowhole sex? Check! Even Vore?! Check. From lesbian clone lizards to self-sucking squirrels and pegging insects, come and explore the real wild side!

Guido (he/him) is computational biologist and data scientist currently working at The Breakthrough Institute. He’s a TED Fellow, a Cornell Alliance for Science Fellow and does volunteer work about immigration and human rights, LGBT issues. On his spare time you might find him doing science communication, at a South of Market Leather bar, coding for fun, working on his documentary project, learning Hindi or making his urine glow under UV light. You can follow along on Twitter @OSGuido.

Sexuality and Game Design: Undressing the past present and future of sex and representation in the video game industry by Mark Shteller

Over the last decade, video games have become the #1 most profitable form of entertainment, yet in many ways the industry is still going through its teenage years. There’s no other subject this fact is more apparent in than in sexuality. How did we get from questionable pixelated sex acts in Atari games to full blown simulated intercourse in VR? What moral panic resulted from gamifying romance and relationships? Why do developers hide queer content behind the #GayButton? In addition we’ll ride down Rainbow Road and discuss where the game industry is today regarding LGBTQ+ representation.

Mark Shteller is the Creative Director of Neon Death Drop, the first action game to feature an openly gay male lead. Mark has been part of the game industry for the past 10 years as a developer, but always wanted to see his queer self represented in games. This year, with the help of his queer game dev friends, he founded Diamond Dust Games – a game studio with a mission to bring fierce gay sass to mainstream gaming audiences.

Star Trek Law: Not Every Case is the Kobayashi Maru by Joshua Gilliland

The world of Star Trek has presented legal issues in infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Join the attorney Joshua Gilliland on the Away Team to discovery the new world of assumption of risk for Red Shirts, whether Tribbles are an invasive species, if Scotty argue the insanity defense for being possessed by Jack the Ripper, comparative law from Klingons to Cardassians, and more from every Generation of Star Trek.

Joshua Gilliland is a California attorney and an associate at Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally LLP. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks blog and podcast, which has made the ABA Journal as one of the top 100 blogs for lawyers from 2013 to 18 and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh grew up in Silicon Valley and is a graduate of UC Davis with a degree in Political Science and earned his law degree from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. Josh is a lifelong fan of science fiction, from Star Trek to Star Wars, Universal Monsters, Kaiju, and comics. Josh enjoys organizing panels and mock trials at comic conventions, photography, and volunteering in Scouting.
Social Media: @bowtielaw and @thelegalgeeks